Saturday, July 14, 2007

BBT -- Final Thoughts

Well, I didn't three-peat final tabling the 50-50 last night on full tilt. I busted a little over halfway through the field on Thursday night when I ran something into something. I honestly don't remember what it was, but I always remember the hideous beats and setups and usually the good plays by me as well, so my guess is that I pushed a good hand into a better hand and that was all she wrote. I played decently well, but after two days of nothing for the first two hours and then some Astins to get me chipped up nicely and move on from there, last night never saw the great cards come even after the first two hours of nothingness. No Astinning, no Bayneing, not even any chip spewage in my direction a la Iggy.

Despite the end of my 50-50 streak and an early-ish flameout from the latest Riverchasers tournament, however, the day was still not a total loss, as I played this 8pm 24k guaranteed tournament for the first time ever on full tilt after hearing a number of bloggers about how it is basically the same thing as the nightly 26k used to be, only starting two hours earlier in the evening. So I took my first stab at the $26 buyin 24k guaranteed tournament with 1100 of my close internet friends, and I did make a nice deep run in this badboy as well:

Overall this was good for just a $100 profit, as it becomes very difficult to make the big money in the $26 buyin mtts since you have to run real deep (like, midway through the final table deep) if you want to get up into the 4 digits in payouts. I loved my performance in this thing, in which I basically ran just the same as I had run in the previous two nights in the 50-50 tournament, essentially chipping up slowly early, making some big hands in hour 3 or so to get well entrenched in the top 50 remaining players, and then coasting it out as far as my bluffing and stealing could take me given a dearth of big hands late. So the $100 itself isn't so great, but if you look at it in terms of buyins, that is 4 buyins won compared to the buyin for the 24k tournament at $26, combined with the 16 buyins I won in the second of my 50-50 final tables on Wednesday night, and the 48 buyins won the night before with the 5th place finish at the 50-50. Anytime you can win more than 4 or 5 buyins from a particular tournament, I view that as a nice payoff, so it's nice to see my mtt game still going strong.

It's really awesome when you're running well like this in mtts, and having done this for a long, long time now, it's frustrating at the same time because I know enough to know that the good streak will soon come to an end, and I never feel like there is any way to stop that from happening. Whenever I'm on a big mtt streak, I almost feel the urge to write as much as possible about it, because I want to have something to look at and turn back to in those times when lady luck has really been kicking you in the ass. Which always happens, as all the big mtt guys know in our crowd, this shit ebbs and flows no matter who you are and no matter how many tournaments you play or how often you play them. But every time I try to sit down and write about playing mtts on a hot streak, it always ends up reading more like someone who's just on a good streak right now, and less like something that would actually be helpful to me or someone else when I'm running like complete and utter shit in tournaments, which will sadly probably be sometime like next week or surely next month. That said, one thing I have been working more on in my tournament game -- really since going through a bad streak in my cash game play a few weeks back -- is controlling the size of the pot a little better than I had been. Basically a few weeks back I found myself basically betting or raising with every draw, making pots bigger than they otherwise had to be in situations where I basically knew on the flop that I was not the favorite. It's amazing how dumb that strategy sounds now when I think about it and say it out loud to myself, but nonetheless that was an accurate description of what I was doing pretty much across the board for some time in my holdem play. Well, in reaction to that, in my three deep mtt runs this week, I have definitely been making a concerted effort to try to keep pots smaller when I don't have anything yet and yet am not ready to give up the hand.

Interestingly, the other, and somewhat contradictory, strategy I've been following this week is something I've actually picked up from guys like Lucko and Chad, and it involves using the power of my entire chip stack to my advantage is these large mtts advance to the later stages. I simply cannot count in my three big mtt runs over the past three days how many times I have open-pushed allin from late position, maybe the button or even the cutoff on occasion, with utter shit cards. I mean, 3 people fold around to me on the button, the blinds are huge at this point down to maybe 15 or 20 players left in the tournament, and I have 83o and J4o or some shit like that. But I haven't won a pot in a while, haven't even played for a raise preflop in a few orbits, and I feel like my stack really needs the addition right now of the blinds and antes which, by this late stage of these big online mtts, would probably increase my total stack size by 15% or more. So I have been exploring the joys of pushing with any two cards (ATC) a lot more lately in key spots with hefty blinds and antes available for theft, and so far that strategy has been working out amazingly well for me.

Congratulations btw to Blinders for winning his first Riverchasers title on Thursday night, as well as to tournament host Al for taking down 2nd place. As I mentioned I donked out somewhere around the middle of the field -- actually lasting a lot longer than I figured I would, given my blonkey play of late in these things -- but the action was fun to watch, and along with Buddydank Radio which was going strong as usual. I have to admit that I probably single-handedly requested 90% of the songs that played during the last couple hours of the broadcast during the Riverchasers, having figured out how to make requests from Buddy's playlist for the first time last night, so if you enjoyed the music during the last couple of hours, then you have me to thank. And if you didn't enjoy it, well then it was Buddy's fault. But nice job to Blinders and Al for strong performances on Thursday night.

Real quick before I get this post up there, Al has run the numbers and come up with this link to what the final BBT leaderboard would have looked like if the points were awarded only to the top 20% of finishers instead of the top 50%. Very interesting. Now let me say up front that this is not at all entirely fair to do. If we had been operating at a top 20% points threshold instead of top 50% for the BBT, then all these tightydonks would have quickly realized how worthless and futile it is to attempt to fold or play ubertight, because you simply cannot make it to the top 20% of a typical blonkament field without playing some aggressive poker. So people would not have been following the same pussy strategy in most cases, and therefore all of these numbers would have been different. But still, the big effect of the switch from 50% to 20% can be seen pretty dramatically -- the guys who made the points often but cashed infrequently dropped down the list, in some cases significantly. And as much as I like most of those guys and even respect their game (somewhat), that is I think right where we want to be, and IMO it more fairly represents who really did the best job in this year's BBT challenge overall.

Speaking of the BBT challenge as a whole, I have to say the obvious and give credit where credit is due: to Bayne. Bayne finished first in total BBT points whether using the 50% or the 20% system, in either case by a huge, huge margin. He came in 5th overall in total profitability through the BBT tournaments, making $811 and change over all 39 BBT events. And even though Bayne did participate in all 39 tournaments, he still blew away the field in average BBT points per event, with nearly 49 ppe, while 2nd place was still below 42. That right there is an abject domination of the field. I made a lot of comments here and elsewhere about some luck
and perhaps some callstationy tendencies that Bayne had exhibited throughout the BBT tournaments, but in the end when you crush everyone else in the field so badly as this, there is no commentary needed and no excuses to be made. This was an old fashioned behind the shed beating by Bayne, no questions asked and qualifications to be made. The guy made 12 final tables in 39 events (next closest was Iggy with 9), and won 4 events outright (next closest was 2, shared by myself, Don and Zeem). Just wow.

Also coming up with very impressive performances in this year's BBT were Astin and Don. Astin used some solid starting cards in several of the later BBT events to sustain a late push into the front part of the top ten, and ended the entire challenge with a loft 41.9 BBT points per event, good for 2nd place overall, with MiamiDon close behind in 3rd place with 41.2 ppe. Another guy who was just an absolute machine when it came to the BBT was everyone's favorite DJ Buddydank. Buddy really is a machine -- and you saw it even in this week's Riverchasers tournament -- but tune in near the end of a great many of our blonkaments, and Buddy always seems to be around. He has a great way of hanging tough, playing tight and reserved while the rest of the field thins, and then using the Blinders-type of strategy of waiting for a big hand at the right time to double up and get in position for a final table run. It worked very effectively in the BBT events, and Buddy rounds out the list of players who averaged at least 40 points per BBT tournament on the season.

One of my personal favorite stats to use to determine how well I think everyone played in the BBT is the cash per event played list, which Blinders also has listed on his post here. The issue here of course is that players who won the Big Game, with its typically huge prize pools compared to all the other BBT tournaments, really skewed the results in this particular event. The first two players on this particular list, Trip and Mike Maloney, each won a Big Game, with Mike chopping for a four-way split in the first Big Game of the BBT, and Trip winning the last event on the schedule just a couple of weeks ago. But other than those two players and myself, cmitch and Bayne round out the list of players who averaged more than $40 cash per event played, and of those five players, only cmitch and Bayne did so without recording any Big Game cashes which is especially impressive in my view. Otherwise, Blinders' other per-event statistics don't do a whole lot for me -- in final table % and in ITM %, again I think those numbers have some applicability but in general since people are not aiming for those things specifically I don't tend to put much focus on those. One list I could not care less about is Blinders' final chart -- final "in the points" percentage. Who cares. Folding to the points is for donks who don't like to make money at poker. Period.

In conclusion, I want to give a huge thanks to Al who thought this whole thing up, just like he thought up the WPBT some time ago. And thank you to each of Al, Mookie and Don who ran such great tournaments week in and week out to keep this thing going, along with the constant pimpage. I may have barched and moaned about some aspects of the BBT that frustrated me, but I cannot say enough about how psyched (and surprised) I was about the turnout in the BBT tournaments. Al was right and I was wrong about how many people would come out and play, I'm way more than enough man to admit that.

What is next for the BBT? Only the poker gods know. Mookie recently suggested a series of poker tournaments in different poker variations, akin to full tilt's FTOPS series of events. That would be fine with me, as I am always a fan of playing big challenges like this with all the different forms of poker, much like the big pros like to play the highest limits in mixed poker games. Left to my own devices, I really hope that, if there is a next time around, we are able to secure some cool poker-related prizes, like big tournament buyins, or maybe if we're really cool, somehow work in awarding a WSOP Main Event seat to the winner of a new challenge should we go that route. I'm convinced by the participation alone that the BBT or something else like it would be extremely fun and very well-received by the blonkeys, and that at the end of the day has always been my #1 goal with respect to the BBT -- bringing out the masses for a genuine, valid comparison and competition of everyone's skills and abilities at this game we all love and enjoy.

Have a great weekend everyone. I am back to the beach for the weekend, and then I will return on Sunday with the entire Hammer family in tow, back to home after nearly two weeks away in the fun n sun n sand. So I don't expect to play much poker, though I may be in Kat's $1 rebuy donkament on Friday night at 9pm ET on full tilt (password is "donkarama"). If you haven't checked this tournament out you definitely should, you will probably not find a more fun event, and certainly not a more therapeutic one, than this all week long. So see you tonight on full tilt!

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Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

And thanks to you too. The BBT challenge was a lot of fun and it was a great way for me to get to know a bunch of the bloggers. I look forward to any future blogger series.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Buddy Dank said...

Hey thanks for the props.
Now I just gotta figure out how to change up my game so that everyone can't read me like a book. Not surprisingly my style of play works better with people who don't know me.

And I was wondering who was requesting all the music late last night. Normally I have a number of people making requests but hardly anyone did last night early on. Then all the sudden there were like 20 songs queued up. Glad you were able to use the Request feature for the first time.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Gnome said...

I like hearing about pushing with ATC and also resteals, which you've focused on a bit this week. These are some of my biggest weaknesses in MTTS, and I'd love to see more posts about what situations to look for. Obviously, if there are a lot of limpers or weak raisers, it's easier to steal preflop. What do you look for specifically? What are your criteria?

12:13 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Congrats on the BBT. It was a great time. I am looking forward to the next one.

12:43 PM  

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